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Chicken Milanese-Perfect Summertime Dinner

9 Jul

Always searching for the something new for dinner that is easy, tasty and not full of calories, this is it, Chicken Milanese. I was inspired by my friend and fellow food blogger (you should check her out) Stacey Snacks, she posted a photo on Insta of her Milanese and it was exactly what I was looking for and I didn’t even know it!

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I think the trick to making it really tasty is well-seasoned chicken cutlets and the dressing. The first time I made it I used the typical lemon and olive oil with salt and pepper, it was delicious. But then after looking on Pinterest at different lemon vinaigrette recipes, I decided to try a lemon-caper vinaigrette and it was super good! Of course if you don’t like capers stick with the traditional lemon.

 

One other important thing is that the cutlets are nice and thin. I learned to use a rolling pin from Ina Garten and it really does the trick.

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Ingredients

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thinly into cutlets (I like to cut my own but you can always buy them and pound them thinner)

1 egg

1 Tbs water

1/2 cup flour

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

1 cup bread crumbs

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1 tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving.

Arugula or any other of your favorite greens (I don’t care for arugula, I use a spring mix)

1/4 cup olive oil plus more for frying

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbs capers

1 Tbs juice from capers

Directions:

Put the flour on plate with salt and pepper. In a bowl beat the egg with the 1 Tbs of water and on a third plate put the bread crumbs with the seasonings and the 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Put the cutlets between sheets of wax paper on a cutting board and pound with a mallet or rolling pin.

Coat the chicken breasts on both sides with the flour mixture, then dip into egg mixture and lastly dredge in the bread crumbs, pressing lightly to cover completely.

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Heat the oil a large pan. Add breaded cutlets 2 or 3 at a time, cook 3 to 4 minutes each side. Place cooked cutlets on a plate with paper towels to absorb grease.

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Whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, capers and caper juice. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Toss greens with vinaigrette, place greens on a platter or individual plates, top with cutlets and grated cheese. I also like to add a vegetable such as green beans, tomatoes, artichoke hearts or asparagus. Serve. Enjoy!

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*I added fresh parsley and basil from our garden to the greens, added nice fresh flavor!

 

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Shroom’n Good Mushroom Stew

21 Jan

Now that I don’t eat beef or pork I needed to find a substitute for a hearty beef stew and this, my friends, is it. If you don’t like mushrooms then this will not work for you, but if you do, you will love it. It is easy and quick to make, as it doesn’t have to cook for hours like a meat stew and completely fills that need of a hot stew on a cold day.

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The original recipe calls for potatoes. I know this sounds crazy but I don’t like potatoes in my stew. I prefer to serve it with potatoes and I added peas, we love peas in this house. You can use frozen peas or canned but I prefer fresh. Our grocery store now carries organic fresh peas that are delicious, I use them in everything. As for the mushrooms, I like them chopped but not small, nice big pieces make a nice stew, especially since mushrooms shrink so much when cooked.

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Ingredients:

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 10 oz Container button mushrooms, stemmed and chopped

1 10 oz Container baby portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped

1 Large Vidalia  or yellow onion, chopped

2 Celery stalks, chopped

2 Carrots, chopped

3 or 4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Cup dry red wine

1/4 All purpose flour

3 to 4 Cups vegetable broth

2 Tbs Tomato paste

1 Cup peas

3 Tbs Fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp dry

2 Tbs Fresh chopped rosemary or 1 tsp dry

1 Tbs Bragg Liquid Aminos

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pour the olive oil into a large pot or Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add onions, carrots and celery; cook until they begin to soften about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant. Add mushrooms, cook until tender, stirring as they cook.

Add red wine and bring to a simmer. Let it simmer until wine is reduced by about half. Stir in flour a little bit at a time until fully incorporated.

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Add 3 cups of broth, tomato paste, peas, Bragg Liquid Aminos, thyme, rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and make sure tomato paste gets incorporated. Bring to a low boil, then turn down heat to allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. If it thickens too much add some more vegetable broth.

Serve over egg noodles, mashed potatoes, rice or with a nice crusty loaf of bread!

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* Recipe adapted from Connoisseurusveg

 

Chicken Tagine or Tagine Chicken?

22 Dec

Either way, it is delicious! I wanted to do something different, so as usual I go to Pinterest. Scrolling through all those chicken recipes, I came across several recipes for chicken tagine, I like Middle Eastern flavors so they really appealed to me. The only thing was, there was at least one thing that I didn’t like in each recipe, so I took from the ones I liked and made my own version.

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I hope you enjoy  this as much as my husband and I did. I served it with couscous but you could also serve it with potatoes. If you choose to serve it with potatoes you can add some cubed potatoes to the pot for the last 20 minutes and voila!

Ingredients:

2 Tbs Olive oil

2 Chicken breasts with bone-in and skin on

4 Chicken legs with bone-in, skin on

1 Yellow or Spanish onion, finely chopped

3 Garlic cloves, minced

4 Cups Chicken stock

1/2 Cup Cilantro, roughly chopped

1/2 Cup Parsley, roughly chopped

2 tsp Ginger, minced or 1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/4 tsp Saffron, crushed

1 Cup Green, pitted olives, reserve the juice

2 Lemons, juiced

Salt and Pepper to taste

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Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dry chicken pieces and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Place skin side down in a single layer in pan.

Brown in batches until skin is golden and crispy, about 5 minutes then turn over and brown other side for about 3 or 4 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add onion to pan and cook until soft, stirring to mix it well with the olive oil. Once the onion is soft, add garlic and cook for another minute or two.

Add chicken back to pan. Add stock, cilantro, parsley, ginger, cumin and saffron. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer; cook uncovered for 30 minutes.

Add olives, reserved olive juice (I used about 1/2 cup) and juice from the 2 lemons. I also added one of the lemons that I juiced. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 minutes, chicken should fall off the bones.

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I like to serve it with the couscous and also roasted carrots to round out the meal. And whether you like to call it Chicken Tagine or Tagine Chicken…Enjoy!

Cacciatore, Hold the Chicken!

16 Aug

Since becoming a vegetarian I learned how to make all kinds of recipes without meat, and this has become a favorite. Summer time in New Jersey means lots of fresh local vegetables including eggplant, peppers and the famous Jersey tomatoes all of which I used in this recipe. Now I know most of you think of New Jersey as crowded and dirty, with bad drivers but in fact, there is a lot of farmland and beautiful rolling hills. We have lots of local farmers markets where we can get everything from local produce to homemade pies. (We are called the Garden State for a reason.)

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This is the perfect summer time pasta dish that is light, has lots of taste and loaded with healthy veggies!

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Just a few notes-I peeled the eggplant, I don’t like the skin but it’s up to you. You can use your favorite mushrooms, I used baby Portobello, just about any kind will do. Finally, instead of the 14 oz can of diced tomatoes I used fresh Jersey tomatoes.

 

Ingredients:

1 lb eggplant, sliced into 1/4 thick slabs

3 Tbsp olive oil, divided

6 oz dried penne pasta

1 lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and sliced

1 small onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, any color, sliced into strips

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 14 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup crushed tomatoes

2 Tbsp capers

1 Tbsp fresh rosemary or 1 tsp dry

1/2 tsp dry oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub eggplant slabs with olive oil and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake until eggplant are slightly browned and tender, but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

 

While eggplant is baking, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to instructions. Drain when done and return pot, toss with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.

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While eggplant bakes and pasta cooks, coat the bottom of a large skillet with olive oil and  place over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper, cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes more. Add garlic and sauté’ for another minute. Add wine and bring to a simmer. Allow to cook until liquid is reduced by about half, 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, crushed tomatoes, capers, rosemary, oregano and red pepper flakes to skillet and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and add eggplant, simmer 5 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Serve over pasta with a salad, crusty bread and a glass of delicious wine!

Thank you to Connoisseurusveg.com for this recipe and the photo of the final dish, mine didn’t look quite as good.

 

Summer Salad Series III: Hearty Roasted Veggie Salad

28 Jun

This is the perfect salad for a healthy summer meal, the potatoes and chick peas make it a bit heartier than a typical salad. For those of you who need protein you can always add chicken or salmon. And the balsamic dressing for this salad is super simple and really delicious, you should definitely keep it handy and use it for other salads!

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Ingredients-Salad:

12 asparagus spears, ends cut off and cut in half

1 cup red potatoes, quartered

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbs balsamic nectar or vinegar

Salt and pepper

2 cups arugula or baby spring greens (I’m not a fan of arugula)

1 avocado, sliced

1/2 cup canned artichoke hearts, halved

1/3 cup canned chick peas, drained and rinsed

Ingredients-Dressing:

4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs balsamic nectar or vinegar

1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pinch of dried oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the potatoes and asparagus in the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, tossing once or twice during that time. Add the asparagus to the potatoes and roast for another 10 minutes. Once the vegetables are done remove from oven, let cool for a bit.

While the vegetables are roasting, whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside.

To assemble, grab a nice big bowl; add lettuces, then add the rest of vegetables and sprinkle with the chick peas. Whisk the dressing before drizzling it over the salad and there you have it! Super easy, super healthy and super yummy!

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*Napkin by Patio Fashions

Recipe from Pumpkin and Peanut Butter

Part II: Eggplant Rollatini

25 Oct

Hands down one of my all time favorite meals ever! And this is the first time I have ever made it and to make it with my homemade sauce made it even better. Thank you to Vodka and Biscuits for the great recipe, the only thing I changed was using fresh spinach versus frozen.

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Ingredients:

2 medium eggplants

kosher salt, as needed

pepper, as needed

15 oz. part skim ricotta cheese

1/2 package fresh, organic baby spinach-torn into pieces

1 egg, beaten

1 T chopped parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch red pepper flakes

2 cups tomato sauce (homemade or jarred)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

To make:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove the the stem end of the eggplant, I also like mine peeled but it is up to you. Using a meat slicer, mandolin or chef’s knife , cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4″ inch slices. Generously sprinkle both sides with kosher salt and to “sweat” for 15 to 20 minutes.

Rinse each slice with water and pat dry. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay slices on a baking sheet and bake 10 -12 minutes.

In a bowl combine ricotta cheese, parsley, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, torn spinach and red pepper flakes. Taste for flavor before adding egg. Once you like the flavor, add egg and mix well.

Cover bottom of baking dish with a thin layer of sauce.

To roll the eggplant, place a heaping spoonful of ricotta mix on a slice of eggplant, roll and place in the sauce. Continue making the eggplant rolls and place them in the baking dish.

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Cover the eggplant rolls with the remaining sauce and top with shredded mozzarella. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

I served mine with spaghetti of course…just had to have the carbs. My husband said it was the best dish I had ever made, can’t beat that!

*Sorry about the crappy photos, one of my New Years’s resolutions for the coming year is better blog photos.

 

 

Summer Veggie Lasagna

20 Jul

Lasagna is comfort food which usually means winter, it is cheesy, hot and gooey. Well, this is my vegetable lasagna made from lots of summer veggies, because sometimes you need that ooey, gooey, comfort food in the summer. And I know most vegetable lasagna is made with a white sauce but I make mine just like the traditional with a red sauce and it is delicious!

Homemade sauce with fresh from the garden herbs!

Homemade sauce with fresh from the garden herbs!

Sauce:

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup yellow onion, finely chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs freshly chopped parsley

1 Tbs freshly chopped basil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a large sauce pan over medium heat add olive oil and chopped onions, cook until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute until fragrant. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, stir until combined. Bring to a boil and turn down to a low simmer and cook for another 30 minutes. While the sauce cooks you can get the vegetables ready and cook the lasagna noodles.

Noodles:

10 lasagna noodles (I cook one extra just in case…)

Olive oil

Bring large pot of water to a boil, add about 1 Tbs olive oil and add noodles, cook according to package directions, you will want them to be al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cooking up the veggies.

Cooking up the veggies.

Vegetables:

1 large zucchini, cut into small cubes

1 large yellow squash, cut into small cubes

1 8 oz container baby bella mushrooms, cut into small cubes

1/2 bag baby spinach

1 Tbs olive oil

*You can also add some red or green peppers if you like that flavor.

Heat olive oil in large saute pan, add zucchini, yellow squash and cook for about 4 minutes then add mushrooms. Cook vegetables till soft and tender. The vegetables will release quite a bit of liquid, drain this so that the lasagna isn’t too watery. When the vegetables are cooked and drained add them to the sauce.

To assemble the lasagna you will need:

1 16 oz block of mozzarella, sliced thinly

1 8 oz container ricotta cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9″ x 13″ pan cover the bottom of the pan in thin layer of sauce, place 3 noodles length wise in the pan and cover with the vegetable sauce, add a layer of baby spinach, spoon ricotta cheese over the spinach and then the mozzarella cheese, repeat. You will have 3 layers of noodles with the top being the mozzarella cheese.

Cover with tin foil and place in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until slightly browned. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread…you’re all set. Enjoy!

Finished product...I left it in the oven just a tad too long.

Finished product…I left it in the oven just a tad too long.

 

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